In his time as a volunteer, Rob Hammond noticed something:
It’s a big pain to lead a group.
Group leaders are expected to use a variety of tools to get the job done. There’s one product for email lists, another for invitations, and a third for collecting payment. Only the most tech savvy (and bored) group leader could keep up with it all.
So, he founded MemberPlanet, an online platform that organizes all the group management tasks in one place. Interestingly, the company credits Facebook with their success. Before Facebook, people were used to having their group memberships scattered everywhere. After Facebook, it was normal to have all of our connections in one place.
That new normal, according to MemberPlanet, paved the way for their success.
Our Q&A with CEO Rob Hammond is below:
What is your startup called?
MemberPlanet. Everyone on the planet is a member of one or more groups, so we felt MemberPlanet was the perfect fit.
What is the product story? Where did the idea come from?
The inspiration for MemberPlanet was gradual and built over several years as both a volunteer and technology entrepreneur. As a volunteer, I was continually asked how we could use technology to assist various groups. The best available tools only provided a single feature, and thus multiple accounts across the web were needed. This was fine for someone who was tech-savvy and had a lot of free time; however I knew there had to be a better way to involve more group leaders and be more productive.
Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds? The founders are Rob Hammond and Binu Thekinedath. Rob is CEO and also founded GreekBill.com, an online financial tools and communication platform for universities and fraternal organizations. Greekbill is now used by organizations at over 400 universities. Our CTO Binu was the Senior Director of Information Technology at CB Richard Ellis Investors. There he developed deep experience in building innovative new products, large-scale systems and strategic platforms.
What problem do you solve?
MemberPlanet makes the tasks associated with managing a group and communicating with its members simple. We have created a functional network that solves the problem of group leaders having to use multiple online tools all over the web that do not work well together. MemberPlanet becomes the single place group leaders go to manage their groups and communicate with their members. At the same time members now have a single place where they can stay connected with their groups, update their information, pay membership dues and buy tickets to the next group event. MemberPlanet becomes a replacement for groups currently using Constant Contact, Survey Monkey, PayPal, Eventbrite, Shutterfly, Google Docs and other online tools groups often use.
Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have connected people in ways we never thought possible at a social level. While all of these people have been connected and see the power of a social network, they cannot perform most of the tasks that are critical to running a group on these networks. MemberPlanet’s functional network is the perfect complement for any sized group’s social network.
What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?
We have celebrated a number of milestones over the past year. Some of the more exciting were crossing the 1 Million user threshold, bringing on our 4000th group and passing 5M in payments processed.
What are your next milestones?
We are launching our new app that is built for groups and essentially provides every group with their own group branded app for all of their members. In addition we are launching an enhanced events and ticketing module that our early adopters have been very excited about.
Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?